The Minnesota Vikings are upholding an agreement they made with former punter Chris Kluwe that will include an LGBTQ panel-discussion and fundraising event.
In 2014, a report asserted that Vikings staff had created a hostile environment for LGBTQ people, including a coach talking about dropping nuclear weapons on gay people. The report came after accusations by Kluwe, a longtime advocate for LGBTQ equality, were made public. A lawsuit brought by Kluwe was settled with the Vikings, and that settlement included an agreement to do more work toward LGBTQ inclusion within the Vikings team and sports.
Now the team will take another step toward fulfilling its commitment to build inclusion, hosting a series of conversations about LGBTQ inclusion at an event at Vikings facilities on June 20.
Kluwe will be one of the headliners, along with a couple of NFL league staffers, former Viking Esera Tuaolo, Olympic diver Greg Louganis, and other prominent voices in the push for LGBTQ equality, including duathlete and triathlete Chris Mosier and LGBT SportSafe co-founder Nevin Caple.
Various events like this have taken place in the past, including Nike’s LGBT Sports Summit, Rainbow Laces Summit hosted by Manchester United, and countless programs hosted by the NCAA and colleges across the country. Yet this is the first time an NFL team has stepped up to the plate in this specific way.
The event is open to anyone in sports looking for ideas of how to make their sports team, athletic department or league more LGBTQ-inclusive. It is running at about the same time as Outsports Pride in New York City, which will feature speakers like San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers and former NFL Player Ryan O’Callaghan.
It’s nice to see the Vikings and Kluwe working together to make this a success. Their relationship turned upside down when the team cut Kluwe, so this cooperation is a really great chapter in that story. Here’s hoping some positive actions come out of the day of conversation!